The Disney College Program has enhanced my communication skills in an abundance of ways. Working as a monorail pilot has allowed me to learn to communicate with multiple different guests, cast members, and leaders/coordinators at the same time. I’ve learned how to communicate effectively while facing challenges that could potentially be harmful or cause a service delay. I’ve also learned how to carry out routine operations while communicating to those around me at the same time. The program has been an excellent opportunity to network within the Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney World specifically.
The responsibility of my position and communication required in my specific tole has allowed me to learn how to handle high-pressure situations within a large theme park setting. Monorail operators are trained for nearly two weeks because of its safety critical and high-intensity nature. We are expected to know holding points on the beam, the console, and the ins and outs of the train…even if we are not a driver. Because of this, different types of communication have been crucial. If power is dropped on the beam, everyone on the platform must verbally confirm that they are clear for power. I have learned radio communication through calling Monorail Central in instances like this as well. Here is an example of a conversation had between myself as a monorail operator at Magic Kingdom and Monorail Central:
“Central, Magic Kingdom”
“Accidental handpack on the Resort beam. 600 volts restored. 1 close indication. Monorail Green affected. Beam is 10-8 (in-service) and ready for train movement.”
“10-4 (ok/yes/affirmative), thank you.”
Not only have I learned how to communicate via radio, PA communication has been crucial as well. I have had to spiel to guests during service delays make operators aware to hold certain cars of trains via PA system. Non-verbal communication is used frequently in monorails with the use of multiple hand signals as well. When it is time to close the doors, I signal with my hands to the driver, and he/she signals back. The driver then closes the doors. After the doors are closed, I give another hand signal to the driver to dispatch the train. Overall, I have used many different communication techniques in the past five months.
Guest communication is the most important communication I have encountered this program. It is my job to let guests know how they can get to their final destinations in the safest and quickest ways possible. Although frustrated or lost guests can be a challenge, it is rewarding when they are assisted and satisfied with the service I have provided.
In the future, I plan to work in theme park communications. Working as a monorail operator at Walt Disney World has taught me how guests perceive theme park operations, what they expect, and what makes them come in the first place. It has also taught me how to act in a professional yet excitable manner, since cast members must always find that balance of being charismatic yet competent. Although the Disney College Program can simply be seen as a “foot-in-the-door” experience, it has given me the basic skills needed to begin my career in the theme park industry.
The main components of the Disney College Program are “Living, Earning, and Learning,” and I feel as if I have experienced the three components to their full capacity. i feel that the “Learning” component truly took on a double-meaning, since even though I was a student at my school throughout the Disney College Program, I learned a great amount at my job as a monorail operator as well.